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In 1985, California Rules of Court, rule 76.5 (now rule 8.300) was promulgated. Rule 8.300 authorizes an appellate court to contract with an administrator for the purpose of assigning and evaluating appointed counsel in indigent appeals. Pursuant to rule 8.300, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) enters yearly contracts with the administrators chosen to work with the various appellate courts.

The appointed counsel program was established in the Sixth District shortly after the courtís inception in November, 1984. The first administrator was the Santa Clara County Conflicts Administration Program, directed by Phillip Pennypacker. The Appellate Division of Conflicts Administration Program began in April, 1985, staffed by attorneys Michael Kresser, Deanna Lamb, and Manuel Baglanis. In March, 1986, Dallas Sacher joined the staff.

Effective July 1, 1988, a new nonprofit corporation, the Sixth District Appellate Program (SDAP) with Michael Kresser as executive director, took over the contract for the Sixth District. The staff of Conflicts Appellate Division became employees of SDAP.

SDAP is governed by a seven person Board of Directors whose members are selected in consultation with the four county bar associations in the Sixth District: Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. From 1988 to 1998, appellate specialist Gerald Z. Marer of Palo Alto was the Chair of the Board. Michele Vague of Santa Cruz, an original member of the Board, assumed the Chair following Mr. Marerís retirement, and served as Chair until May 2007. Russell Hanlon, a civil appellate specialist in San Jose, was then elected Chair. Professor Ed Steinman of Santa Clara Law School is Chief Financial Officer. Rickey Green, an attorney who concentrates in corporate and tax law, is Secretary. Other board members are Frank Dice of Salinas, Wendy Kim of Santa Clara, Juliet Peck of Salinas, and Stephen LaBerge of Santa Cruz. All are veteran criminal defense trial attorneys. Professor Gerald Uelmen of the Santa Clara School of Law was Chief Financial Officer from 1988 to 2006 when he resigned upon becoming Executive Director of the California Commission on the Fair Adminstration of Justice.

SDAPís attitude toward the representation of indigents is that expressed in Von Moltke v. Gillies (1948) 332 U.S. 708:

ďUndivided allegiance and faithful, devoted service to a client are prized traditions of the American lawyer. It is this kind of service for which the Sixth Amendment makes provision. And nowhere is this service deemed more honorable than in case of appointment to represent an accused too poor to hire a lawyer, even though the accused may be a member of an unpopular or hated group, or may be charged with an offense which is peculiarly abhorrent.Ē (Id., at pp. 725-726, fn. omitted.)

DALLAS SACHER became SDAPís Executive Director in May 2012. He graduated from Santa Clara Law School in 1981. Dallas worked as a staff attorney for Presiding Justice George Brown of the Fifth District Court of Appeal from 1982 to 1983. After a stint at an LA firm, Dallas moved north and began a private appellate practice. He joined SDAPís predecessor, the Conflicts Administration Program as a staff attorney in 1986. Recent litigation success include obtaining an OSC by order of the California Supreme Court, and then representing his client at the subsequent evidentiary hearing in superior court, where he got one of two convictions set aside due to IAC. His client was then resentenced from 25 years to life to six years and released. (In re Magnan, S133572.) He also obtained federal habeas relief after an evidentiary hearing on the ground that trial counsel's advice to plead guilty in a Three Strikes case constituted ineffective assistance of counsel. (Pakes v. Yates, C04-5294 VRW.)

WILLIAM M. ROBINSON is SDAP's Assistant Director. He is a 1980 graduate of UC Davis Law School. Bill has been a criminal defense lawyer ever since. He has won numerous appellate cases including People v. Mendoza (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1114, People v. Gangemi (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 1790, People v. Garcia (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 191 and People v. Fuller (1982) 136 Cal.App.3d 403. Bill joined the SDAP staff in 1998 and was SDAP's faculty member at the inaugural Appellate Advocacy College in 2000. His most recent success was obtaining a full reversal of multiple convictions, including attempted murder with gun use and gang enhancements, carrying a 40 year to life sentence in People v. Blancarte, H026676. He also obtained federal relief for a client who had been convicted of murder, concluding a 13 year odyssey which included trips to the California Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

LORI QUICK graduated from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1990. Between 1990 and 1992, she was a Deputy Public Defender in Marin County. In 1992, Lori joined the Public Defenderís Office in Santa Cruz. Lori became a SDAP staff attorney in 1996. Lori recently obtained a grant of habeas corpus from the Ninth Circuit for a Three Strikes client due to instructional error concerning use of domestic violence propensity evidence (Acosta v. Lewis, 04-17017) and obtained a full reversal of multiple sex offense convictions and resulting 162 year to life sentence in People v. Ojeda, H029199.

VICKI FIRSTMAN
has been a SDAP staff attorney since 1996. Vicki is a graduate of Santa Clara Law School. She began her legal career with the Monterey County Public Defender where she represented clients until 1982. Vicki was a judicial attorney with the Sixth District Court of Appeal from its inception in 1984 until 1995. She is involved with both criminal and dependency cases in her staff work, and has assisted in major habeas litigation in dependency and with regard to advisement of immigration consequences both in the appellate and trial courts.

PAUL COUENHOVEN graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 1983. He clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn in Detroit for two years. He came to California and worked for Patrick Hallinan before joining the Alameda County Public Defenderís office in 1987. In 1989, he began his practice as a panel attorney, eventually joining all five project panels and doing capital appellate defense. He joined the SDAP staff in 1997. Paul's recent victories include People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185 [equal protection violation to make sex offender registration mandatory for unlawful oral copulation but optional for unlawful sexual intercourse].

JONATHAN GROSSMAN is a 1991 graduate of Hastings College of Law. Jonathan worked as a Deputy Public Defender in San Joaquin County from 1991 to 1999 where he handled numerous law and motion and appellate matters in both criminal and child dependency cases. Jonathan joined SDAP in 1999. Among his notable victories is Juan H. v. Allen (9th Cir. 2005) 408 F.3d 1262 in which he obtained federal habeas relief to reverse his client's murder and attempted murder convictions due to insufficient evidence and People v. Whaley (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 779, reversing a life time commitment as a sexually violent predator imposed retroactively without a trial following revision of the SVP law.

PATRICK McKENNA is a 2010 graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law. During law school, he spent one year as a law clerk with Appellate Defenders, Inc (ADI). Following graduation, he worked as a research clerk at the Santa Clara County Public Defenders Office. After being admitted to the State Bar, he moved into private practice, working as an attorney at Nolan, Armstrong & Barton, LLP in Palo Alto and as a panel attorney for both ADI and SDAP. He began working as a Staff Attorney with SDAP in June 2012.

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